Upfronts: CBS Announces 2011-12 Primetime Schedule

  • Publish Date: May 18, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 4 user comments

The highlights

CBS's 2011-12 Lineup
New / Returning
Comedy 2 5
Drama 4 10
Reality 0 3

This season's ratings leader is only eliminating four shows from its current schedule, which explains why CBS is introducing fewer new series (just six) than any other major network next season. Some highlights from the network's Wednesday morning announcement of its 2011-12 schedule:

  • On the procedural front, the network has ended the short-lived spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, but another struggling entry, CSI: New York, has been renewed.
  • To the surprise of nobody, CBS has canceled first-year programs $#*! My Dad Says, The Defenders, Chaos, and Mad Love.
  • To the surprise of some, Tom Selleck cop drama Blue Bloods will return next season. That show joins its more successful freshman counterparts Hawaii Five-0 and Mike & Molly in securing second season orders.
  • As widely reported last week, Two and a Half Men will return for another season (in its current timeslot), with Nikon pitchman Ashton Kutcher replacing star Charlie Sheen to the extent such a thing is possible. Kutcher's character has yet to be determined.
  • CBS will be the only network with first-run scripted programming on Saturdays, with comedy Rules of Engagement shifting to that undesirable night at 8pm.
  • Acclaimed drama The Good Wife is returning, and will shift to Sundays at 9pm, temporarily displacing reality hit Undercover Boss, which will return at midseason.
  • The network's most intriguing new shows include the J.J. Abrams-produced, Jonah Nolan-created drama Person of Interest, Robert De Niro-produced cop drama The 2-2, a supernatural medical drama (A Gifted Man) directed by Jonathan Demme, and comedy How to Be a Gentleman, which has good buzz and an even better cast.
  • CBS has such confidence in Person of Interest that it is giving the show the prime 9pm Thursday slot occupied by CSI for the past 11 years. The latter show will shift to Wednesdays at 10pm.
  • Among the pilots that didn't get picked up are the Minnie Driver mom-turned-P.I. drama Hail Mary, the Christine Lahti/Kyle MacLachlan medical series The Doctor, and the Sarah Michelle Gellar drama Ringer, though the latter is headed to The CW instead.
  • CBS also passed on sitcoms starring Rob Riggle (Home Game) and Rob Schneider -- which reportedly had poorly received pilots -- a Conan O'Brien-produced comedy starring Michael Chiklis (Vince Uncensored), and another directed by Neil Patrick Harris. However, there is a decent chance that CBS will order one or more additional comedies for midseason, so some of these projects may still be in play.

Below, we take a closer look at CBS's projected schedule, followed by descriptions for each of the network's new programs.

CBS's primetime schedule

In addition to the shows listed below, the following new shows do not yet have a firm timeslot but have been picked up for the 2011-12 season and will arrive later in the year: The 2-2, Undercover Boss.

New programs are indicated in bold in the schedule below. All times are ET/PT unless otherwise indicated.

CBS Fall 2011 Schedule
  7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30
SUN 60 Minutes The Amazing Race The Good Wife CSI: Miami
MON   How I Met Your Mother 2 Broke Girls Two and a Half Men Mike & Molly Hawaii Five-0
TUE   NCIS NCIS: Los Angeles Unforgettable
WED   Survivor Criminal Minds CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
THU   The Big Bang Theory How to Be a Gentleman Person of Interest The Mentalist
FRI   A Gifted Man CSI: NY Blue Bloods
SAT   Rules of Engagement [new] Rules of Engagement [reruns] crime reruns 48 Hours Mystery

CBS's new programs

First-year series on CBS's schedule during the 2011-12 season include:

Image2 Broke Girls

2 Broke Girls Watch trailer
Created by comedian Whitney Cummings (who also has her own show, Whitney, on NBC in the fall) and Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King, this comedy centers on two young -- and apparently, not very wealthy -- New Yorkers, who work together as waitresses but aspire to open their own cupcake shop ... if only they could somehow raise the money to do so. Kat Dennings (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Thor) and relative newcomer Beth Behrs star as the two girls, and the cast also includes Garrett Morris.

The 2-2 (formerly Rookies)
On paper, it's just another crime drama about rookie police officers. But take a closer look at the people behind the series (which will arrive in midseason), and it becomes much more promising. Created by writer Richard Price (novels Clockers and Lush Life, also a writer for The Wire and movies like The Color of Money), the New York-set series is produced by Robert De Niro, and the pilot is directed by James Mangold (Walk the Line, Cop Land). The ensemble cast includes Leelee Sobieski and Adam Goldberg.

ImageA Gifted Man

A Gifted Man Watch trailer
Medium might be gone, but that doesn't mean CBS characters won't be talking to dead people on Friday nights. Patrick Wilson (Angels in America) stars as a gifted surgeon who begins seeing visions of his dead, but apparently still idealistic, ex-wife, who convinces him to take a different, more compassionate approach to his practice. The drama was created by screenwriter Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), and the pilot was directed by Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), who doesn't typically work in series television.

ImageHow to Be a Gentleman

How to Be a Gentleman Watch trailer
Boasting possibly the best cast out of any new sitcom debuting next year, Gentleman is loosely adapted by David Hornsby (who plays "Rickety Cricket" on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and also writes for that show) from John Bridges' book of etiquette for men. The buddy comedy centers on an uptight magazine advice columnist (Hornsby) who learns about life with the help of an old high school classmate -- a personal trainer who doesn't share his appreciation for manners. Kevin Dillon (Entourage), Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall, NewsRadio), Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), and Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords) also star, and Adam Chase (Friends) is among the producers.

ImagePerson of Interest

Person of Interest Watch trailer
One of two new fall shows produced by J.J. Abrams (the other is Fox's Alcatraz), Person of Interest brings Lost's Michael Emerson back to the small screen as a crazy billionaire who recruits a former CIA agent (Jim Caviezel) to fight crime as a vigilante in New York City using a high tech system the former has invented. The Equalizer-esque drama was created by Jonah Nolan, best known for co-writing the screenplays to many of his brother Christopher's films, including The Dark Knight. Taraji P. Henson (Hustle and Flow) also stars.


Unforgettable (formerly The Rememberer) Trailer
After switching from an unforgettably silly title to one that is, blandly, Unforgettable, CBS simply hopes you forget that it already has a procedural about a gifted crime solver with unique mental abilities. Based on short story by novelist J. Robert Lennon, this new cop drama centers on a mentalist rememberer former NYPD officer who has hyperthymesia -- basically, the ability to recall almost everything that happens to her, down to the smallest detail. She is quickly drafted back into the force when her neighbor is murdered; presumably, in future episodes, she'll also have some sort of personal connection to each case, or else her extraordinary memory will be extraordinarily pointless. (One such case: the long-ago, unsolved murder of her sister.) Poppy Montgomery (Without a Trace) stars.

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Comments (4)

  • Rue  

    I was bummed when Chaos was canceled after just three episodes, but I guess I should have expected it from CBS. At least Hawaii 5-0 will be back... I love that show!
    Person of Interest looks interesting, so it'll probably be canceled right out of the gate too.

  • Shaun firth  

    How great is it that Jim Caviezel is coming to tv. He just seems to talented for television. I'm also really glad that Blue Bloods was picked up. A lot of good television got the axe lately, so it's nice we didn't lose everything with any brains. I mean, I like Poppy Montgomery, but doesn't Unforgettable sound stupid to you? Even the name is unmemorable!

  • Mitch Tough  

    Person of Interest looks bad-ass. I'm fired up to see what the hell happens with Hawaii 5-0. Jail?

  • M.H.  

    so more standard stuff from CBS?

    At least they have How I Met Your Mother I guess. Seems like it'll be the only show I'm watching on the network (maybe I'll try HTBAG though)

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